Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Grilled Pimento Cheese Sandwiches

I have been drooling over the thought of this creation ever since I first saw it being made on the television.  I had never ever heard of it before and was dumb founded as to what a pimento cheese sandwich was.  The first thought that crossed my mind was that a pimento is that little red thingy in the center of green olives, which by the way I adore.  So, I actually stopped and planted my butt on my sofa and watched the chef prepare this here sandwich.  And I was more than enticed, I was captivated, motivated and I was kinda drooling out of the right side of my mouth.  Sorry, but that's the truth of it.  Literally I was instantly craving this wonderful thing, this grilled pimento cheese sandwich.  And finally, finally, after spending a few days researching different recipes for it (there are literally hundreds of variations), I settled down my options and started out on this new voyage.  And I think that I hit the nail smack on the head- not that I have anything to compare it to other than pure great tasting- but I can promise you this......if you love grilled cheese, then you are gonna be absolutely bat shit crazy about grilled pimento cheese.

1/3 cup of shredded mild cheddar cheese
2/3 cup of shredded pepper jack cheese
1 cup of shredded cheddar and Monterrey jack cheese
2 oz. of cream cheese (softened)
1/2 cup of real mayonnaise
2 oz. of jarred pimentos (un-drained)
1 pinch of ground cayenne pepper (more if you want to taste the heat)
1 tad (about 1/2 of a 1/8 tsp.) of garlic salt
fresh cracked pepper
8-10 slice's of  country whole wheat sandwich bread
a few T.'s of real butter (softened)

- In a medium mixing bowl, toss together the shredded cheese's.  Then add in the cream cheese, mayonnaise, pimentos+juice, cayenne, garlic salt and the pepper; stir well.  Preheat your griddle or frying pan up to a medium heat.  Spread one side of 1/2 of the bread slices with your butter (making sure to get all the way to the edges); place them buttered sides down on the hot griddle/ pan, spread a not too thick nor not too thin layer of the pimento cheese mixture over the bread (not going quite all the way to the edges-or else it will seep out and burn), butter 1 side of the remaining sliced bread and place them on top of the pimento cheese with the buttered side facing out.  Grill for about 2-4 minutes on each side watching so as not to over-brown them.  Plate them and allow them to cool about 2 minutes before slicing in half and serving.  serves 4-5.  Enjoy!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Carribean Jerk Chicken Salad Subs

I love to make chicken salad.  And I love to make chicken salad with my leftover chicken from a previous meal.  It makes me feel handy and efficient to make use of our leftovers.  Call me lame, but I would rather spread what I can as far as I can.  Wasteful is not a term used to describe the functionality of my kitchen, that is for darn sure.  So, since we had some delicious grilled marinated chicken earlier this week, and there was just 2 lone pieces just wasting away in my fridge, I figured that it was as good as a time as any to whip up some chicken salad.  And what a delicious scrap and serve sandwich it turned out to be.

2 boneless/ skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup of Caribbean Jerk marinade (I used L.C. Masterpiece)
3-4 T. of yellow onion (diced)
3-4 T. of red cabbage (diced)
1/2 of a small sweet red apple (I used a Gala apple, diced)
1/4 cup of real mayonnaise (more or less is up to you)
1 T. of fresh lemon juice (from 1/2 of a lemon)
1-2 tsp. of dried crushed basil
2 T. of BBQ sauce (I used Sweet Baby Ray's Original)
iceberg lettuce (ripped up, for garnish)

-Marinade your chicken breasts with the Caribbean Jerk marinade in a shallow dish, covered, in the fridge for 3-4 hours.  Grill over medium heat for about 10-15 minutes on each side (or until the center is no longer pink and juices run clear).  Remove from the grill, plate and allow to cool completely.  Thinly slice the chicken and chop into small pieces.  Mix the chicken well with all of the remaining ingredients in a medium mixing bowl.  Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour or longer for the flavors to meld together.  Serve on sliced sub rolls with some fresh ripped up lettuce.  Serves 4.  Enjoy!@

Monday, March 19, 2012

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes

This cupcake reminds me of my Paige.  She is bright and fresh just like a lemon, shining her way through this world with her contagious smile and charm.  Literally brightening up anything or anywhere that she is added to.  She can brighten even my darkest days.  She is my little lemon, my little bright burst of everything yellow.  She is my yellow.  My spiel of giggles and eyes of joy.  My sweet sweet strawberry girl.  Bright red and ripe and full of sugary summertime.  Bursting at her seams swirling all around her.  Because it comes from all inside her.  Paige is my summer.

1 box of lemon cake mix (prepared as directed-I used Pillsbury Moist Supreme cake mix)
1- 3oz. box of strawberry Jell-o mix
1-2 container's of strawberry cake frosting (depending on how much you use on top of each cupcake-I used Duncan Hines Creamy Home style Strawberries 'n Cream cake frosting)
24 cupcake liners

-Preheat your oven to 350*.  Line your cupcake liners in a 12 ct. muffin pan.  Once you have made your lemon cake batter as directed on the back of the box, partially fold in the Jell-o mix just until moistened but not completely stirred in.  Fill each muffin liner in your pan about 3/4's of the way full with batter.  Bake at 350* for 18-22 minutes or until the centers are set.  Remove cupcakes from the pan and place on a wire rack to cool completely.  Then repeat the steps for the last batch.  Once all of the cupcakes have cooled completely, you can frost them.  Spoon your frosting into a Ziploc bag, express the extra air in the bag and seal well.  Push all of the frost down to 1 corner and twist off the excess bag, creating an instant throw-away piping bag.  Snip off a small tip of the bottom and squeeze gently to pipe the frosting onto the tops of the cupcakes.  Serves 24.  Enjoy!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Amaretto Brownie Trifle

This amazing dessert was inspired by one that a very close family friend of ours makes.  She has now spoiled us with it twice.  So much that, when we do pot luck dinners together and she asks what she should bring, the very first thing that comes to my mind is this, this spectacular trifle of ooey-gooey goodness.  And now that my husband, Rich, and I crave this dessert every few months or so, I became determined to replicate it for ourselves and brand it as my own.  With a little twist here and a little twist there, I have now created my own version of her masterpiece.  And it's a pretty darn good one at that.

1 carton of red-ripe strawberries (washed, tops cut off and sliced vertically)
1/4 cup of amaretto liquor
3 regular-sized boxes of Instant French Vanilla Pudding (prepared as directed)
1 batch of a 9x9 pan of chocolate brownies (cut into small squares)
1 large tub of Cool Whip (defrosted)

-Place your sliced strawberries in a shallow bowl with the amaretto; toss to evenly coat and let stand about 30 minutes to infuse them.  Once your strawberries are good and ready you can begin to layer them on the bottom of a large glass trifle dish.  Follow with a layer of brownies, a layer of pudding, a layer of cool whip.  Repeat all layers until you have used all of your ingredients, making sure to end it with a layer of strawberries over the last layer of cool whip.  And viola!  Serves 8 or so.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Warm Blueberry Ice Cream Topping

This here is a wonderful little way to cure a hankering for some pie ala' mode when you don't have any pie.  Especially when you want to spend about a total of 3 minutes on the whole sha-bang.  It is a quick and simple way to make your average vanilla ice cream a super special treat for a change.  And the best part is that you can basically do the same thing with just about any other fresh fruit that you have on hand.  I love to do this with peaches, raspberries or cherries too.  But, if I had to chose, it would be blueberry all the way.  As I always say, "Sweets for the sweet!"

1 cup fresh blueberries
3 T. of sugar
2 tsp. of lemon juice
2 dashes of salt
1/4 tsp. of real vanilla extract
vanilla bean ice cream

-In a small saucepan, over medium heat, stir together the first four ingredients and bring to a boil.  Boil for 1 minute while occasionally stirring.  Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract.  Let stand about 1 minute before pouring over a couple scoops of vanilla bean ice cream.  Serves 2.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

His Slow-Cooker Venison Chili

This one is his.  His chili.  His very own, self-concocted, yearly repeated chili recipe. The one that makes him puff up his chest and smile with his eyes when he talks of it.  The one that he boasts about to all, then looks back to me for.  The one that he claims is his. His very own masterpiece.  This recipe here belongs to him, my handsome one.

1 lb. of ground venison
1/2 lb. of bulk zesty breakfast pork sausage
1 medium yellow onion (diced)
1 medium green sweet pepper (diced)
1 medium red sweet pepper (diced)
2 large cloves of garlic (minced)
1/2 of fresh jalapeno pepper (seeded and minced)
2- 14.5oz. fire roasted diced tomatoes (un-drained)
2- 15.5oz. cans of light red kidney beans (un-drained)
1- 6oz. can of tomato sauce
2 packets of original chili mix
sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, sliced pickled jalapenos and some oyster crackers for garnish

-Brown the venison and the pork along with the onions, sweet peppers, garlic and jalapeno in a large stockpot, on medium-high heat, until meats are thoroughly cooked and the veggies are tender.  Stir in the next five ingredients and transfer it carefully to your slow-cooker.  Let this go Lo and slow all day for about 6-8 hours.  Serve with a dollop of sour cream, a pinch of cheese, a couple jalapeno slices and a handful of oyster crackers right on top.  Serves 6-8.  Enjoy!